He’s All That is a big deal for a lot of reasons. Not only did the gender-swapped remake bring one of the most beloved rom-coms to a new generation, but it also marked the acting debut of TikTok superstar Addison Rae. To make sure it was a success, the cast and crew put a ton of work into getting the movie just right, and these He’s All That behind-the-scenes facts will give fans a whole new appreciation of the film.
Much like the original, She’s All That, which hit theaters back in 1999, He’s All That is all about a popular high schooler who takes a bet to transform the school outcast into prom royalty. In the classic rom-com, it’s popular jock Zack (Freddie Prinze Jr.) who is dared to give artsy loner Laney (Rachael Leigh Cook) a makeover, but this time around, influencer Padgett (Addison Rae) agrees to turn rebellious outsider Cameron (Tanner Buchanan) into the picture of popularity. The movie is Rae’s first-ever acting gig, as well as the movie debut for the TikTok star’s close friend Kourtney Kardashian, who plays the owner of the product line who sponsors Padgett’s social media posts. It also features several Disney Channel stars in more grown up roles, like Madison Pettis and Peyton Meyer, along with a couple stars of the original She’s All That: Cook and Matthew Lillard.
Netflix shared with Elite Daily some fun stories about how the cast made He’s All That happen, and they are must-reads for anyone who loved the movie.
1. The cast has an active group chat.
Filming He’s All That during a pandemic required the actors to quarantine, which wound up only making them much closer once they were finally on set together. Rae shared that the whole cast formed a very strong bond and still text each other all the time. “Sometimes people just go their separate ways after filming, but the entire cast and I have all stayed super in touch,” Rae said via Netflix. “We text each other, we have a group chat and every time one of us is in town we’re like, ‘Let’s all go do something!’ We’re all still super good friends.”
2. Rae’s two favorite She’s All That characters are in the movie.
Rae was already a She’s All That fan before she was cast in the remake, having watched it several times with her mom. She said her favorite characters in the ’90s movie are Cook’s Laney and Lillard’s bombastic reality star Brock. Funnily enough, both Cook and Lillard appear in He’s All That as Padgett’s mom and the high school principal, respectively.
3. Buchanan was cast because the producers loved Cobra Kai.
Finding the perfect actor to star opposite Rae happened by a chance Netflix marathon. He’s All That producer Jennifer Gibgot couldn’t get enough of the martial arts dramedy Cobra Kai (which stars Buchanan) during COVID lockdown. She and her fellow producers set up a meeting with Buchanan purely because they loved his part in the show, and it led to him landing the He’s All That lead role.
4. Kardashian was super nervous for her cameo.
Rae was excited to share her film debut with her Kardashian. According to Rae, Kardashian fought through her nerves and totally wowed everyone on set. “Just being able to be there and coach her through it a little bit while she was experiencing it for the first time was just unbelievably fun,” Rae said. “And she did so well. The entire crew loved her. She was super open to tips and listening to what people had to say. She tells me all the time, ‘I was so nervous. I hope it doesn’t show!’ No, she did so amazing and I’m excited for everyone to see that side of her.”
5. Padgett and Cameron’s karaoke duet was almost another song.
One of the movie’s big musical moments comes early on when Padgett and Cameron first start to connect while singing Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream” together at a karaoke party. But that wasn’t always going to be the song choice. Originally, Padgett and Cameron were going to sing Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” together, but Rae and Buchanan both thought “Teenage Dream” was the better option. “[The song] was kind of the one that really stuck with both of us, when Tanner and I talked about it,” Rae said. “We were like, ‘This is just so perfect. We can’t go with anything else.’”
6. Meyer wasn’t sure about working with Rae at first.
Meyer had to do a total personality shift in order to play Padgett’s social media-obsessed ex, Jordan. The actor, whose Instagram consists of just 15 posts, admitted to Netflix that he’s “not a big social media person,” and his aversion to online culture even made him skeptical about working with a TikTok superstar like Rae. “It’s her first film. I know how TikTokers can be,” Meyer said. “The first day I met her, it just all washed away. She was so sweet and you could tell she was laser-focused. She’s great to work with.”
7. Buchanan rocked Cameron’s pre-makeover look as a teenager.
Before Padgett makes him over, Cameron has a very distinct look... and it was actually a very familiar one for Buchanan. The actor used to grow his hair out and wear flannels and beanies all the time back when he was in high school. “Cameron’s look before the transformation is about me at 16 years old, which is horrific,” Buchanan said via Netflix. “I was in a metal band at the time and I was like, ‘Yeah, I’m, I’m going to grow my hair out.’ And when we did the camera tests, they were putting extensions in and I just looked at myself and I was like, ‘I thought I was over this phase.’ I scared myself in the mirror because I was like, ‘No, the long hair is back! This is terrible.’”
8. Meyer was cast as Jordan because of a bold audition decision.
According to producer Andrew Panay, Meyer got the part of Jordan before he even had to say a word. Throughout He’s All That, Jordan is constantly taking off his shirt, so Meyer had the brilliant idea of just showing up to the audition shirtless. “He was our first Jordan to read, and he came with no shirt on,” Panay told Netflix. “That’s the character. He probably has his shirt off half the film. And so the confidence was spectacular. We’re like, ‘Oh, yeah, you know, he’s going for it.’”
9. Cook thinks another remake needs to happen.
Cook was totally on board with her iconic movie getting remade for a new generation — especially since she got to co-star as Padgett’s supportive mom, Anna. She told Netflix that she felt the She’s All That story was ripe for an update that better reflects the landscape of the 2020s, and that she would be down to remake the movie again in another two decades. “It’s socially important to update the messaging,” Cook said. “This will be true again 20 years from now. And yes, I’d like to be in that movie as well.”
10. Buchanan related to Cameron’s outcast status.
Buchanan didn’t just look like his teenage self as Cameron; he also related to the character’s outsider status — not because he used to be a loner photographer, though. Buchanan shared that his love of dance made him an outcast at his Ohio high school. “I was the only boy that danced in our town for the longest time,” Buchanan said. “And yeah, I got made fun of for it but at the same time it wasn’t important to me to be part of that popular crowd because I just wanted to do me. So, I guess for me it’s like, I understand where people come from wanting to fit in, but it’s like, just do you. I was always the outcast, and it’s just like, you find your group of people who accept you for who you are.”
He’s All That is available to stream on Netflix now.